Welcome toThe Rothschild Archive'swebsite

Sources for business history

Sources for art history: Catalogue of the pictures of Alfred de Rothschild 1901

Sources for yachting history: Plans for Nathaniel von Rothschild's yacht Veglia 1905

Sources for natural history: Walter 2nd Lord Rothschild and his zebra carriage: c.1910

Sources for global financial history: Map of lines of the Brazil Railway Company: c.1920

Sources for business history: index cards to bank files

Sources for social history: Rothschild Hospital Paris: 1920s

Sources for business history: detail of a Rothschild bond coupon

Sources for architectural history: Halton House: 1890s

Sources for the history of travel: Lionel de Rothschild's tours of Spain: 1909

Sources for local history: Tring Park: c.1900

Sources for Royal history: shooting party with Edward Prince of Wales: 1893

Sources for political history: Lionel de Rothschild: first Jewish MP: 1858

Sources for sporting history: St Amant winner of the Derby: 1904

Sources for local history: gardeners at Aston Clinton: 1899

Sources for Rothschild family history: Lionel de Rothschild's yacht Rhodora: 1927

Sources for London history: entrance to New Court: 1965

Sources for design history: plans for Lionel de Rothschild's Rolls-Royce: 1930

Sources for business history: Rothschild gold bars produced by the Royal Mint Refinery: 1930s

Sources for business history: letters of August Belmont Rothschild Agent in New York: 1860s

Health & social enterprise

Members of the Rothschild family were involved in work to address a wide range of social issues. The family has support advances in medicine through its donations to and foundation of hospitals, clinics and research facilities, with members of the family being practicing medics themselves. They also supported social housing and work to alleviate poverty.

Alphonse de Rothschild Foundation for the People of Paris

In memory of their father Alphonse (1827-1905), Edouard de Rothschild (1868-1949) and Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild (1864-1934) established in 1924 a foundation bearing his name for the benefit of the people of Paris - The Alphonse de Rothschild Foundation for the People of Paris. Edouard was the first president, and his sister Béatrice and wife Germaine were joint vice-presidents. One of the Foundation's major works was the Maison de Convalescence de Alphonse de Rothschild, Chantilly, a 35-bed convalescent home in Chantilly, for needy men and women of all faiths who were recovering from surgery in Paris hospitals. 

Bettina Pavilion, Vienna

The wife of Albert von Rothschild (1844-1911), Bettina (1858-1892), died at a young age of breast cancer. In her lifetime, she had been a generous benefactor of a number of charities in Vienna. In her memory, Albert established a foundation with 1.1m Krone to provide medical care for women in Vienna. The Bettina Pavilion was constructed between 1894 and 1896 at the Kaiserin Elisabeth-Spital in Vienna with beds for 60 women. The building and the equipment were the most modem available at the time, and the Pavilion attracted the finest specialists who carried out pioneering work in gynaecology and obstetrics. The Bettina Hospital is still in operation today.

British Red Cross

The Rothschild family has been closely associated with the British Red Cross since its inception in 1870 when Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915) became one of the founder members of the committee of the National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War, later serving as chairman of the Society. He was a key figure in the reorganisation of the Society into the British Red Cross in 1905. His son, Charles (1877-1923), was one of the first Council members of the newly formed British Red Cross from 1905, serving until his death in 1923. He took an active role, establishing financial systems and national procedures for the Society in 1909 and serving on the Executive Committee at the time of the First World War. Marie, Mrs Leopold de Rothschild (1862-1937) was twice mentioned in despatches during the First World War in connection with her work as President of the Middlesex Branch of the British Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD). She was also involved in the establishment of the Aylesbury Military Hospital, and was made a CBE for her work for the war effort.

Carolinum, (Baron Mayer Carl von Rothschild's Foundation), Frankfurt

Named in memory of Mayer Carl von Rothschild (1820-1886), the Carolinum was founded by his daughter, Hannah Louise von Rothschild (1850-1892) in 1890 as the Baron Mayer Carl von Rothschild's Foundation, 'Carolinum'. Hannah Louise remained single and dedicated her life to charity in Frankfurt. She had originally intended that the foundation should be an out-patients institution along the lines of examples she had seen in Paris, but the Carolinum became a new type of foundation for the city in that it was a polyclinic with a dental care section. Hannah Louise died in 1892, and her mother successfully sought permission for the foundation to run in perpetuity. In 1906 the Carolinum was converted into a dedicated dental clinic with the full support of the Rothschilds. When the University of Frankfurt was formed in 1910, the Carolinum was one of the original components.

Charles-James de Rothschild Hospital, Gouvieux, Oise, France

Founded in 1891 by Laura Thérèse de Rothschild (1847-1931) at Gouvieux. Overseen by Dr. Calot, the medical director of the Nathaniel de Rothschild Hospital and the Berck-sur-mer dispensary, the Charles-James Hospital was intended to service two needs under the same roof: a dispensary and a hospital. The dispensary provided free consultations and sometimes free medication. The hospital looked after those who needed longer-term care or surgery. Between 1891 and 1893, 2,114 consultations were held and 210 patients were admitted to the hospital. The hospital served the 2,000-strong community of Gouvieux, and supplemented the créche established by Laura Thérèse in 1888. The créche was named after her daughter, Jeanne, and looked after a daily average of thirty children between the ages of fifteen months and four years.

Clementine Children's Hospital, Frankfurt

Louise von Rothschild (1820-1894) established the Clementine Children's Hospital in memory of her daughter (Clementine (1845-1865)) who died at just twenty years of age. She provided a piece of land at 110 Bornheimer Landwehr, and capital of 800,000 gold marks. The foundation was able to provide free accommodation for girls aged between five and fifteen years, and received substantial donations from three of Clementine's sisters, Laura Therese, Adelheid and Emma. The hospital had to be taken over by the German women's section of the Red Cross after the period of inflation, and a change of name and statute was inevitable, although the hospital remained dedicated to the care of children. However, one free bed remained in memory of Clementine. The building was totally destroyed by bombing in 1943, from which all the children and hospital staff escaped. After the end of the war, the foundation once again bore the name of the Clementine Children's Hospital, and subsequently merged with the Dr Christ Foundation.

Edmond de Rothschild Biological Institute, Paris

Edmond de Rothschild (1834-1945) made an important contribution to molecular biology by establishing a biological foundation in his name. The original idea dated back to 1921, but the centre for research was opened at 13, rue Pierre-et-Marie-Curie, Paris, in 1931. Edmond de Rothschild (1926-1997), grandson of the founder, continued to provide support for research at this and the ophthalmological institute.

Evelina Hospital for Children, London

The Evelina Hospital for Sick Children in London was established by Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839-1898) in memory of his wife, Evelina, who died in childbirth. He initially intended to create a maternity hospital on the site at South Sea Court, off Southwark Bridge Road, but was persuaded that this particular area of London needed a childrens' hospital, which he endowed with £10,000. Although Ferdinand had intended to be the sole source of finance for the hospital during the early years, the demands on resources were so great that a public subscription fund had to be set up in 1871, enabling the hospital to increase the number of cots from 30 to 40 in 1872. Ferdinand made a second donation of £10,000 in 1896 for the purposes of modernisation and the installation of electric lighting. The Evelina received royal patronage in 1901 and continued to operate as a voluntary hospital until it was incorporated into the public health system in 1946. Rothschild representatives on the Board of the Evelina have been: Ferdinand de Rothschild - President (1869-1898); Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942) - Treasurer (1937-1940); James de Rothschild (1878-1957) - Treasurer (1942-1948). Trustees have at various times included the Earl of Rosebery, and Leopold (1845-1917) and Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942). The hospital was substantially rebuilt in 2005. In 2020, the Eranda Rothschild Scholarship Programme (supported by the charitable foundation established by the late Sir Evelyn de Rothschild in 1967) was launched to support excellence in nursing and midwifery practice and education at the Evelina London. 

Fondation Ophtalmologique Adolphe de Rothschild, Paris

In his will, Adolphe von Rothschild (1823-1900) requested that his widow, Julie (1830-1907), should establish a hospital in Paris for treatment of optical diseases, to be called Fondation Ophthalmologique Adolphe de Rothschild. Adolphe himself had suffered an accident which required treatment by an ophthalmologist in Geneva, and he was encouraged by the specialist to establish a similar clinic in Paris. The building was opened on 1 May 1905 at the comer of the rue Manin. It had 62 beds, and during its first year treated 80,000 patients. The foundation was aware of the difficulty some people experienced leaving work for medical treatment and so remained open for consultations in the evening. All the consultations, the medication and treatments were paid for by the foundation. During the First World War, the foundation was put at the disposal of the war wounded, and required additional funding to keep going. Baron Edmond de Rothschild (1845-1934) made the required donation, which enabled expansion to take place. The rejuvenated service had departments of neurology, radiology, cardiology, and neuro-surgery.

L’Hôpital Henri de Rothschild

Henri de Rothschild (1872-1947) became a medical practitioner specialising in infant medicine, publishing over 100 papers and making substantial practical contributions to the field. He built a hospital in the rue Marcadet in Paris (later the Mathilde-Henri de Rothschild Foundation) and set up milk distribution schemes and other practical projects to improve public health. During the First World War, while in charge of the military hospital at Soissons, he invented a portable burns unit for use in battle zones.  In 1919 he became one of the founders of the Curie Foundation. 

The London Hospital

Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836) became a subscriber to the London Hospital almost as soon as he settled in London and became a Governor in 1826. The hospital had been founded in 1740 and had a long tradition of providing for Jewish patients. After Nathan's death in 1836 his widow, Hannah (1783-1850), and her children continued to provide financial support for the hospital, particularly during the rebuilding of 1842, which
resulted in the establishment of wards for the separate care of Jewish patients. In the same year the family also set up the Rothschild Fund to help maintain these Jewish wards.

Jewish Hospital, Frankfurt

The Frankfurt Jewish Men's Health Insurance Fund and the Jewish Women's Health Insurance Fund were both founded in the middle years of the 18th century. Next to the synagogue, in 1831, a plaque was erected declaring, 'Barons Amschel, Salomon, Nathan, Carl and Jacob von Rothschild built this house in accordance with the wishes of their late father; for the care of the sick, the good of the community, the embellishment of their home town; a memorial to filial respect and fraternal harmony'. In the years immediately after the granting of rights of private citizens to the Jewish community in 1824, the Rothschilds made substantial donations to both organisations for the purpose of erecting a new hospital. The building work began in 1829, on the site at the comer of Rechneigrabenstrasse and the Judenmarkt, incorporating a synagogue.

Mathilde von Rothschild Children's Hospital, Frankfurt

In 1903, Mathilde von Rothschild (1832-1924) established a children's hospital on Roderbergweg in Frankfurt. A neighbour on the Roderbergweg - one of the most pleasant parts of the city - was the Georgine Sara von Rothschild Hospital. Mathilde's daughter, Adelheid (1853-1935), continued to provide for the children's hospital after her mother's death, supporting a number of beds and paying for repairs to the building. The fruit and vegetables for the hospital were supplied from the Grüneburg. The hospital, which treated Jewish children, was Aryanised before the Second World War.

Mathilde-Henri de Rothschild Foundation, Paris

The construction of a hospital with 100 beds at 199 rue Marcadet, Paris, in 1894 marked the first stage of the creation of what was to become the Mathilde-Henri de Rothschild Foundation. The foundation was renamed in 1929, after a thorough reconstruction, in memory of the wife of Henri (1872-1947), Mathilde (1874-1926). The polyclinic was equipped with the most up to date facilities of the time.

Mayer Rothschild Hospital, Jerusalem

The Mayer Rothschild Hospital in Jerusalem was founded in 1855 by James de Rothschild (1792-1868) and named after his father. James and his wife, Betty (1805-1886), made contributions to a number of charitable ventures in Jerusalem. A commercial school, a foundation for the distribution of bread to the poor, a foundation to support needy women in childbirth, and an office to make small loans, were all provided for by the couple.

Minka von Goldschmidt-Rothschild Bequest, Frankfurt

On the death of Minka von Goldschmidt-Rothschild (1857-1903), her family donated one million marks in her name to the Gumpertz hospice at 75 Ostendstrasse, Frankfurt. The bequest enabled the hospice, which had been founded in 1888, to erect a new building at 62-64 Roderbergweg, accommodating 60 incurably ill people, regardless of their religion.
Members of Minka's family joined the board of management: Philip Schey von Koromla in 1917 and Rudolph von Goldschmidt-Rothschild in 1932. The hospice was destroyed by bombing in 1944.

Fondation Rothschild, rue Picpus, Paris

Baron James de Rothschild (1792-1868) established a foundation in Paris in 1852, of which the first manifestation was the construction of a hospital on the rue Picpus. Between 1852 and 1860, the hospital accommodated 8,000 patients, and patient numbers increased steadily in the following decades.

Rothschild Hospital, Berck-sur-mer, France

In 1872, James Edouard de Rothschild (1844-1881) founded a hospital at Berck-sur-mer in the Pas de Calais which he named after his late father, Nathaniel. James Edouard died just ten years after the foundation of the hospital, which nevertheless benefited from the devotion to it of his widow, Laura Therese. The hospital took on a therapeutic role in the treatment of tuberculosis. Hospitals and benevolent institutes were created to cater for the sick and those in need of rest and recuperation. The hospital specialised in the care of children, using Thalassotherapy a therapeutic cure discovered in the region that utlised seawater. The Berck dispensary was founded in 1892 by Henri de Rothschild (1872-1947), James Edouard's son. A wide range of medical services were established such as dentistry and surgery, although the dispensary specialised in the care and nourishment of infants. In fact, this aspect of the service became independent in 1904, in which year alone 192,7 41 litres of sterilised milk were dispensed.

Charlotte von Rothschild Fund for the Relief of Poverty in Frankfurt

Hannah Mathilde von Rothschild (1832-1924) established the Charlotte von Rothschild Fund for the Relief of Poverty in Frankfurt in 1878, in memory of her mother, the daughter of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836). The fund was intended to support single or widowed women of any religious persuasion, who could find no free place in a rest home or sanatorium, or who needed medical equipment or supplies. The payment of support was handled by the City's Poor Board.

Famine relief

Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879) combined humanitarian concerns with business.  In 1846, the British Relief Association was formed in his room at New Court, St Swithin's Lane, the premises of N M Rothschild & Sons in the City of London to assist the Irish peasantry in the wake of failures of the potato crop.  Lionel donated £1,000 to the fund and in 1847, in association with Barings, he contracted the Irish Famine Relief Loan which raised £8 million.  

Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company, London

Founded in 1885 by Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915), the Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company was established to provide “the industrial classes with commodious and healthy Dwellings at a minimum rent” and was primarily aimed at serving the Jewish population in East London, who suffered from overcrowding and poor accommodation. The company was formed as a commercial business, with a board consisting of other notable Jewish philanthropists such as Frederick Mocatta and Samuel Montagu. In addition to generating moderate and safe financial returns (of 4%), the directors were motivated by the clear social return which providing higher quality accommodation at affordable prices could provide. A company prospectus for the Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company was issued in 1885 stating the intention to erect on a 3/4 acre freehold site in Flower and Dean Street, Thrawl Street and George Street in Whitechapel a block of model dwellings to house about 186 Jewish families. It was estimated that if the rentals were based on a return of 4%, good accommodation could be provided at a weekly rent of 5s per tenement. The Chairman of the company was Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915), and he subscribed £10,000. A further £70,000 share issue was launched in 1901, at which time it was reported that five blocks of dwellings had been opened since 1887: Charlotte de Rothschild, Brady Street, Nathaniel, Stepney Green and Evelina buildings housing a total of 4,465 persons in 948 tenements. Compared with other accommodation at the time, one dweller pronounced that, 'Rothschilds was luxury'.

Invalids' Kitchen at Bishopsgate, London

The Invalids' Kitchen at Bishopsgate, London was founded and largely supported by Charlotte, Baroness Lionel de Rothschild (1819-1884). The kitchen operated under the auspices of the Jewish Board of Guardians, and supplied food to, among others, members of the Jewish community who were convalescing in the home founded by Louise, Lady Anthony de Rothschild (1821-1910). From its base in Artillery Lane in London's East End, the kitchens were supplying around fifty packed meals per day by the 1870s. The kitchens were managed by a lady almoner, and pupils from the Jews' Free School acted as trainee cooks.

London Mosque Fund

Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915) was a trustee of the London Mosque Fund, established on 9 November 1910. At that time, there was a growing Muslim population in Britain but no place of worship was available to them for Friday prayers. As a result, a meeting of high-profile Muslim and non-Muslims was held at the Ritz Hotel in order to discuss the procuring of a permanent place of worship for Muslims and the London Mosque Fund was created to take this forward. In the early 1940s, the fund acquired three buildings which were converted into The East London Mosque. The location has since moved but this mosque remains a central location for the British Muslim community. Nathaniel was a trustee of the London Mosque Fund (now The East London Mosque Trust) until his death in 1915. 

Mayer de Rothschild Lifeboats, Hythe, Kent

The cost of the establishment of the lifeboat station at Hythe in 1876, together with a sum towards its future maintenance, was provided by Hannah de Rothschild (1851-1890) in memory of her father, Mayer, who had served as the MP for Hythe. Between 1876 and 1930, a succession of three lifeboats named 'Mayer de Rothschild' were provided. The boats were launched 39 times in that period, saving a total of 41 lives.

Orphanage at rue Lamblardie, Paris

The orphanage at rue Lamblardie was founded in 1874 by Salomon (1835-1864) and Adèle de Rothschild (1843-1922), in the vicinity of the hospitals created by the Rothschild Foundation in 1852. Boys and girls were educated by the orphanage. The boys were then placed in apprenticeship schemes and the girls continued to help with the work of the orphanage until they reached their majority. After the Second World War, a new teaching system was applied to the orphanage, closely supervised by Germaine de Rothschild (1884-1975), who always maintained an interest in the welfare of children.

Parliamentary Commission on London

In 1889, Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915), became a member of a parliamentary commission appointed to report on the problems arising from the vast increase of the population of London. He urged the London Jewish community to unite on what was known as the 'East End Scheme', a plan for improving spiritual and social life in the area. There was vigorous opposition to the 'East End Scheme' by other members of the community, and in spite of Natty's offer of £20,000 towards the expenses, nothing came of the plan apart from annual free services on New Year's Day and the Day of Atonement, which he regularly attended.

Fondation Rothschild, Paris

Baron James de Rothschild (1792-1868) established a foundation in Paris in 1852, of which the first manifestation was the construction of a hospital on the rue Picpus. Between 1852 and 1860, the hospital accommodated 8,000 patients, and patient numbers increased steadily in the following decades. The scope of activities of the Fondation Rothschild was extended by the Rothschild brothers Alphonse (1827-1905), Gustave (1829-1911) and Edmond (1845-1934) in 1904. In addition to healthcare, the Fondation objective was to improve the material condition of workers, and the Fondation built six tenement blocks on the roads named Marcadet, Bargue, Belleville, Popincourt and Lamblardie, which consisted of 1,200 apartments and 160 commercial sites. The building materials used meant that the exterior had a less forbidding appearance than many similar projects. The buildings had excellent sanitary provisions and communal services, the later ones benefiting from educational provisions, a dispensary, and an electricity supply.

Temperance and prison reform

Lady Constance Battersea (née de Rothschild) (1843-1931) was particularly active in a number of causes. Profoundly committed to the social concern instilled in her by her mother, Louise Constance became active in the temperance movement that flourished in England and America in the mid and late nineteenth century. She joined the British Women’s Temperance Association in the 1890s and eventually became a leader of temperance campaigns in London and the provinces. 

Village housing, Ashton, Northants, England

Having acquired Ashton Wold from his father, Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild, Charles Rothschild (1877-1923) rebuilt the village of Ashton. With William Huckvale, a local man, as architect, the cottages were constructed from brick and local stone and the roofs were thatched with sedge and reed. Charles provided every cottage with a bathroom; in 1901 it was thought that Ashton was the only village in England with a bath in every house. The gardens were planted with laburnum, lilac, cherry and apple trees.

Village housing, Langau, Austria

Albert (1844-1911), the head of the Vienna house, acquired an estate at Langau in 1870. The region was of great ecological significance. Albert's son, Alphonse (1878-1942), employed 190 men on the estate during the 1920s, each housed in a chalet built by Albert. The building began in 1870. Set in the magnificent grass parkland of the estate, the chalets were constructed from local timber, with gabled roofs of slatted wooden tiles. Inside, the chalets boasted metal-lined wooden baths.

Village housing, Louisa Cottages, Tring, Herts, England

The Louisa Cottages, a row of eight houses facing the Walter Rothschild Museum at Tring, were built in 1893 to house retired employees of the Tring Park Estate of Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915). Designed by William Huckvale, they were funded by Emma, Lady Rothschild (1844-1935), and named after her mother. Residents benefited from the unparalleled health service provision established by Emma for the estate's workers.

Wilhelm Carl von Rothschild Foundation for Charitable and Benevolent Aims, Frankfurt

In memory of her father, Wilhelm Carl von Rothschild who died in 1901, Minka von Goldschmidt-Rothschild (1857-1903) created a foundation for Charitable and Benevolent Aims in his name, with a bequest of one million marks. One of the aims of the foundation was to create living accommodation for less wealthy inhabitants of Frankfurt, and in 1910, a house was opened at 142-146 Hügelstrasse. The building contained 39 one and two roomed apartments for women. School-leavers were also a concern of the Foundation, as were residents of Frankfurt finding themselves no longer able to pay their rent or to provide adequate heating for themselves. During the period of National Socialism in Germany, much of the foundation was handed over to other institutions and the women's home was sold, but a large part of it was reconstituted. In the post-war years, the foundation's aims continued to be the provision of support for fuel and rent, and the running of a home for elderly, single women.

Women's causes 

Lady Constance Battersea (née de Rothschild) (1843-1931) was particularly active in this area. After her marriage to Cyril Flower, Lord Battersea in 1877, Constance combined a lavish social life with charitable activities. Profoundly committed to the social concern instilled in her by her mother, Constance became active in English philanthropy, and became engaged in the temperance movement that flourished in England and America in the mid- and late- nineteenth century. She joined the British Women’s Temperance Association in the 1890s and eventually became a leader of temperance campaigns in London and the provinces. Constance was introduced to the women’s movement in 1881 by suffragist and temperance worker Fanny Morgan, whom Battersea helped to undertake a political career that resulted in her election as mayor of Brecon. In 1885 Lady Battersea was jolted into struggling with the sensitive issue of white slavery by a national scandal and journalistic exposés of child prostitution and white slavery - trafficking in girls and women. Moreover, journalist W. T. Stead’s articles about white slavery also fanned prejudice against Jewish immigrants by accusing East European Jews of being the source of the traffic in prostitutes and also the source of corrupting English girls and women. Horrified by the plight of many young women, Constance engaged many among the liberal leadership of Anglo-Jewry in the fight to rescue Jewish prostitutes by founding the Jewish Association for the Protection of Girls and Women (JAPGW). Founding the JAPGW launched many Anglo-Jewish women into organized English feminism and established the roots of an Anglo-Jewish woman’s movement seventeen years before the founding of the Union of Jewish Women. In the mid 1890s, her reputation for social activism led her to become active in the movement for reforms of English women’s prisons.

Fondation Alphonse de Rothschild Maison de Convalescence Chantilly

Fondation Alphonse de Rothschild Maison de Convalescence Chantilly

Rothschild Hospital Berck Plage

Rothschild Hospital Berck Plage